GM is once again General Motors, and no longer Government Motors. The US Treasury sold its last shares yesterday. Bailouts from the Bush and Obama administrations helped GM avoid liquidation and instead reorganized in 2009 bankruptcy. In return, the Treasury became a shareholder in GM. The US said it lost about $10.5 billion on its investment of $49.5 billion, but that's not the entire story.
GM was returned to investment-grade status by Moody’s Investors Service in September after losing it eight years ago; it's back in the S&P 500 index (it had been kicked out back when it was facing bankruptcy). Share price is up over 40% year to date. They're making good cars that are winning awards. And they have a new CEO, Mary Barra, the first female CEO of an automotive company.
According to a study by the Center for Automotive Research, a total automobile-industry shutdown from a liquidation of GM and Chrysler would have cut 2.63 million jobs from the US economy in 2009. The bailout saved or avoided the loss of $105 billion in transfer payments and the loss of personal and social insurance tax collection in 2009 and 2010.
Eight major technology companies have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter to President Obama arguing for reforms in the way the US snoops on people.